NAPA -– Reports emerged on Monday that suspended Raiders edge rusher Aldon Smith checked himself into rehab.
Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio had heard that same information.
Smith, currently suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, isn’t allowed to have contact with Del Rio or most Raiders official during a banishment that will last until late November at least.
Del Rio said he hoped checking himself into rehab would help get Smith back on track.
“I remain hopeful for the young man to get himself and his life turned around,” Del Rio said on Friday, following the team’s first training camp practice. “If he can get his ducks in a row, as a football team we would invite back a good football player. The first thing for him is to make sure he’s taken care of. The focus should be on him getting the help he needs to get his life in order so he can have a good life.
[RELATED: Source: Aldon Smith enters treatment center]
“I’m hoping for the best from a distance, because I can’t be directly involved.”
Smith is currently on the Raiders’ reserve-suspended list. He was suspended after playing nine games with the Raiders last year, but signed a two-year, $11.5 million contract this offseason to return to a team he enjoyed representing.
Smith was a popular person from the locker room to the front office, and would still be welcome assuming he gets his life in order.
The Raiders are focus on Smith the person right now. Khalil Mack, one of Smith’s best friends on the team said he wasn’t aware of the rehab decision but supported it if reports were true.
“I didn’t know that had happened. That’s a great thing for him, knowing that he’s helping himself,” Mack said. “I really didn’t know that that had happened.”
Smith must be reinstated by the NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell before being allowed to regain employment. The rehab stint might help achieve that end if he wants to return and show that he is engaging in treatment and abstinence from banned substances of abuse.
Smith can be reinstated on Nov. 17 at the earliest, and can apply for reinstatement 60 days prior to that date.
Smith has been in the news this week, after CSNBayArea.com uncovered a Periscope account he used regularly that included a video where his face is never shown but a man, who identifies himself as Aldon Smith, and woman discuss a hand-rolled cigarette in a post entitled “Fire Up Session.”